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What Is A Redacted Bank Statement?

Redacting bank statements

A redacting bank statement can allow you you hide or remove confidential information. Are you part of a legal process requiring you to provide your bank statement? If so, you may wish to learn how to redact confidential information on the documents for privacy concerns. 

If you need to submit bank statements, then the process of redacting information is to black out or hide sensitive information that could leave you exposed to several dangers when doing so. A redacted bank statement allows you to use the financial information within to further your business/legal dealings whilst protecting yourself. Legislation in the EU requires financial institutions, and sometimes even yourself, to do this mandatorily to protect both you and the businesses you deal with.

This article explains how to redact information from bank statements, whether it is through Google Docs or standalone programs. We also highlight the dangers not redacting sensitive information may bring, as well as effective strategies to protect important information.

What Does “Redacting” a Bank Statement Mean?

Redacting is not a practice exclusive to financial documents or financial institutions. A redacted document will have clear signs that it was edited, and sensitive information (such as personally identifiable information) will be marked for redaction.

Redaction isn’t just used to protect details of a bank account, however. In courts, a redacted document can be useful to protect the names and personal information of both witnesses and victims or even to ensure that the names of people in supporting documents necessary for the court are protected, especially in cases where the individuals are not necessarily part of the dispute in question.

The Government, for example, may decide to release documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act but redact information it considers highly confidential.

Why Would You Need to Redact Information From a Bank Statement?

The following are examples of scenarios where a redacted bank statement becomes necessary.

  • Protection- When you have to present financial documents like your bank statements as requirements for a divorce process. You can seek legal counsel to redact the information considered irrelevant to the divorce case. Examples of such include your account number or the names of other account holders.
  • Loan – When applying for a loan or financial assistance that does not require some personal details. You can submit a redacted bank statement that does not contain irrelevant details like your account number.
  • Validation – If you are using your bank balance as proof of address for immigration or visa purposes. Some statements like your account number or transaction details are confidential in such a case and irrelevant to migration or visa purposes. You can provide a redacted bank statement instead.
  • Application – When your employer requests a copy of your bank statement to verify your identity or eligibility for the job. You might present redacted documents containing only relevant details to the job description.

What To Redact From Your Bank Statement?

No one redacted bank statement will look the same, as many have different requirements based on the situation. As a starting point, consider who is asking for your bank statement: what is highly confidential but unneeded? From there, it’s about considering what to keep in.

However, there is a balance to be met. Too much information left out of your redacted bank statement will raise questions as to its eligibility, or even authenticity. Remove confidential information that is not required or relevant only, anything that isn’t required but also not harmful should be endured.

What are the Dangers of Not Redacting a Bank Statement?

To fail to redact bank statements before you give them off to others can put you at great risk, such as fraud and identity theft. You might be surprised at the damage a fraudster can do with the available information on the bank statement.

The following are some examples of what lax, or unredacted bank statement submittal, may result in:

  • Credit Accounts – Fraudsters could open credit accounts in your name with financial institutions, apply for a loan, buy a car etc. This is called identity theft and is the major reason for presenting redacted bank statements where necessary.
  • Use Information Against You: Forgetting to redact sensitive data on your bank statement can also place you under direct risk. Imagine going through a messy divorce case or child support and a former partner gets hold of your bank statement. They can use it against you to embarrass or damage the case. In some extreme cases, they can make illegal withdrawals from your bank account. This is why you mustn’t submit bank statements without redacting financial information.
  • Invasive Marketing – Not redacting bank statements can open you up to targeted marketing. Customers’ nonpublic personal information can be used to find out about their spending habits and interests and use it to make a profit. Whilst they don’t commit fraud or use it for malicious purposes, this is a privacy invasion that will bring annoyance at the least.


Avoid disclosing information to the public alongside information that others could use to frame you for a crime or put you in a difficult financial position.

How to Redact a Bank Statement – Most Used Methods

Check out the different available methods on how to redact information from a bank statement.

Redacting By Pen

Redacting sensitive data from a bank statement by hand can seem like the easiest method. Using a black marker to black out confidential information on physical copies of your bank statement isn’t new, and is an accepted practice. Just print out the file, and cover up the parts you wish to conceal. From there, you could send it off, or hard copy/scan the redacted bank statement to forward it electronically.

A good check to make is to hold up the printed statement to the light to confirm the market properly conceals the information beneath. Ensuring they are unreadable is key if you’re sending them off physically.

Making Edits to a PDF editor

Alternatively, you can make edits to a PDF

format. Perhaps this is surprising, but PDF editors come with their redaction tools within the security tab.

This is likely one of the methods most people will opt for, as it’s convenient. It cuts out any physicality or extra tools (such as a printer, scanner etc) from the task, and most businesses want you to send things electronically anyway.

Redacting through Banking App/Website

Some banking apps and websites allow you to redact information before downloading the statement. If you’re unsure, your bank should at least have a helpdesk that you can get assistance from fairly quickly to find out for sure.

Even if you’re unable, the bank themselves may point you to their most secure and convenient method to generate a redacted bank statement.

How to Redact a Bank Statement Using Adobe Acrobat

Adobe Acrobat has free versions, as well as a simple interface. It works by editing PDF software, getting you a redacted bank statement easily through built-in features.

  • Open the PDF file in Adobe Acrobat. The toolbar should have an “Edit PDF” option. Select the “Redact” tool.
  • Ensure you properly select all the information you want to hide. Click “Apply” and use the “Save As” option to store the edited PDF on your computer. 


Be careful that you save your Edited PDF file as a new file to keep the old one.

How to Redact a Bank Statement Using Microsoft Word

Let’s also check out how to permanently redact sensitive information on a bank statement using Microsoft Word.

  • Open the document you want to edit in Microsoft Word. On the toolbar, right-click “Review” > “Protect Document” > “Restrict Editing”.
  • Click “Yes, Start Enforcing Protection”.
  • Enter a password to restrict unwanted access to the file.
  • Proceed to select all the information you want to redact. You can either delete them or replace them with white space. Once that is done, click “File” > “Save As to save the new redacted version.


With these advanced features, you can effectively hide private information from bank statements and other documents.

How to Redact a Bank Statement Using Google Docs

The next alternative is learning how to redact information on a bank statement using Google Docs. This is a simple method like using Microsoft Word and is even easier to share.

  • Open the document you want to edit in Google Docs. Click ‘Edit” > “Find and Replace”.
  • A “Find” field appears. Enter the text that you want to redact in that space and leave the “Replace with” field blank.
  • Right-click “Replace All” and you will have successfully removed all the instances of the text you want to redact. The document automatically saves in Google Docs and you can proceed to share with whoever requested it.

Using a Lawyer to Help With Redaction

Consider requesting professional legal help when confused about financial information, or other sensitive information, as failure to redact bank statements opens you up to risks, and redacting too much may make your efforts wasted.

A lawyer can assist with your document review and tell you what information needs to be removed to protect your privacy and personal information. As qualified legal experts, their experience can speed up the process and ensure your application is as effective as possible.

We would always urge you to seek legal counsel for situations where you have to redact information from a document to be submitted to a court. For instance, the court has strict rules about what information can be redacted on a bank statement. Acting otherwise can result in your documents being rejected or inadmissible in court, and causing court delays is not good for anyone, with legal consequences sometimes being meted out.

Other Ways to Protect Your Sensitive Information

There are several other ways to protect sensitive information and prevent identity theft without redacting:

  • Encrypt all your digital documents: the purpose of encryption is to ensure restricted access to documents that are not meant for everyone. Many word processing documents have these restrictions in place, such as Google Docs, which can allow you to set strict permissions on who can see, comment and even edit documents.
  • Shred physical copies of sensitive documents: getting rid of documents through shredding helps to protect confidential information from getting into the wrong hands. This is a tried and true method of many businesses who, when done with documents, remove the security risk they pose by existing when they shred physical copies. For example – old bank statements.
  • Use VPN: VPNs hide your identity for you whenever you go to access the internet. You should avoid using unauthorised public WiFi to access personal information like bank accounts or statements. However, use a trusted VPN service if you must use public network access.
  • Use a password manager for access codes: Many businesses have online accounts that they share among employees. A password manager eliminates the possible liability by generating hard passwords and storing them. This also rids you of the burden of having to remember passwords.
  • Get secure online storage: Online storage systems with a good reputation, such as Google Drive, can help keep many of your sensitive information transaction details, or anything else you need protecting, safe, whilst having full control over who accesses them.

Final Thoughts

A redacted bank statement is protection against the leaking of your sensitive information. Many ways of redacting bank statements exist, and you should make sure to do your research to find the most convenient method for you.

Redacted Bank Statements – FAQs

What is the best tool to permanently redact bank statements?

You can permanently redact bank statements with a range of tools. The following, however, will be a list of software that is dedicated to redaction. 

Software-Based Dedicated Redaction Tools

 

Software NameProsConsAdditional Notes
RedactableDesigned for redaction, intuitive interfaceExpensiveOffers features like redaction workflow and collaboration tools
Rectify DataMay automate sensitive data detection, advanced anonymisation optionsMay be overkill for occasional needsCan scan documents to find specific information for redaction
Objective RedactBulk redaction capabilities accept various file formats (including scanned documents)CostlyOn-premises software may have a steeper learning curve
Evermap AutoRedactFocus on automatic redaction, integrates with Adobe AcrobatPotentially expensiveBest suited for those already using Adobe Acrobat

 

Online Redaction Tools 

Website NameProsConsAdditional Notes
UPDFConvenient, free for basic use, easy, can redact PDFs securelySecurity concerns (third-party server), the free version may have limitationsOffers a variety of PDF editing features in addition to redaction
SmallpdfConvenient, free for basic use, easy, offers various PDF toolsSecurity concerns (third-party server), the free version may have limitationsMay be a good choice if you need multiple basic PDF functionalities
iLovePDFConvenient, free for basic use, easy, good for merging, splitting, and compressing PDFsSecurity concerns (third-party server), the free version may have limitationsConsider if you need basic PDF manipulation along with redaction

 

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